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The Co-op is launching a gender-neutral gingerbread person and wants you to pick its name

The new sweet treat arrives in stores in September 2019

Sarah Young
Thursday 11 April 2019 11:19 BST
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(Co-op
(Co-op

Everyone’s favourite human-shaped biscuit is about to bid "adieu" to its “man” moniker with the arrival of Co-op’s new “gingerbread person”.

The supermarket is set to launch a gender-neutral version of the sweet treat and is asking its customers to help come up with a name.

It has not yet confirmed what the biscuit will look like when it is released in September.

However, the company has released a sneak peek of one of the possible designs, showing the gingerbread person wearing grey clothing, made out of icing.

From 10 April until 1 May, Co-op is running a competition on its website to give shoppers the chance to name the new addition.

The supermarket will then put together a shortlist of its favourite suggestions before asking the public to choose a winner.

“Our Food team is adding the final touches to a new Co-op gingerbread person, but they’ve yet to come up with a name,” the Co-op website reads.

"The plan is to give our new gingerbread fellow some seasonal costume refreshes - a distinctively Christmassy look for December and something rather spooky around Halloween for example.

“So they’ll need a name that works for any time of year. We also need to ensure that the name is gender neutral too.”

The decision to create a gender-neutral version of the gingerbread man has been criticised by some on social media.

“Inclusion is a great policy, but making the Gingerbread Man gender neutral is just political correctness gone crazy,” one person wrote on Twitter.

Another added: “Can’t believe the coop is launching a ‘gender neutral gingerbread person’. Wtf is going on?”

However, a spokesperson for the Co-op says the supermarket is confident the biscuit will be a hit when it goes on sale in September.

“Inclusion and diversity lie at the heart of Co-op's values and we're looking to create a character which can be used to celebrate different occasions through the year and will appeal to all our customers,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Co-op isn’t the first food chain to make its gingerbread man gender-neutral.

In August 2018, Pret A Manger announced it would be launching a female gingerbread treat to go alongside its existing gingerbread man.

And that the pair, named Annie and Gofrey, would be sold as gender-neutral “gingerbread biscuits”, rather than men and women.

The company said the change was made after Clive Schlee, Pret’s chief executive, received a letter from a customer asking why there were no “gingerbread girls”.

While it remains to be seen whether or not the decision to allow the public to choose the gingerbread person’s name is a wise move, past experience tells us the Co-op should be concerned.

In April 2016, the Natural Environment Research Council launched a competition to name its new polar research ship, only for people to vote overwhelmingly in favour of RRS Boaty McBoatface.

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Despite the suggestion's victory in a public poll, Science Minister Jo Johnson announced the boat would instead be called the Royal Research Ship Sir David Attenborough, after the famed broadcaster and naturalist.

You can sign up here to suggest a name for the Co-op’s gingerbread person.

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